• Stacya Shepard Silverman

Part 19: We Are All Wearing Masks

Updated: Apr 5

It's April 4, 2020. The advice is that all of us should wear masks when we go out in public. My business is closed, the streets are empty. My last customer came in on March 16th, although it seems like much longer ago, all the days blending together. When my client came in that day I felt nervous about the virus, and wondered if I should cancel, but it was a quick waxing appointment, and my client seemed confident. We were both unaware of what only experts knew about the Corona Virus back in December, 2019. There was no clear direction, and it was confusing.


Since masks are on everyone's mind around here, what better time to attempt to list all the names my father used throughout his life. Full disclosure, I changed my name as well, so I'm not pointing fingers at people who change their names. As I wrote in a previous blog, my father named me Stacy. I decided to change it when he abruptly left us. My mother convinced me that if I simply added an "a" to the end of the name Stacy, it would be a Slavic spelling, pronounced "Stah-Sha." I know this is wrong now, but I was eighteen years-old, impulsive, and looking to punish my father for leaving. When he found out, he was outraged. "That's pretentious!" he yelled into the phone from some undisclosed location. Pretentious? Probably so, but look at some of the wacky names he came up with. Sheesh.


In Riley's life, I'm still focused on the early 1940s in this blog. This is the time when my father really committed to "multiplying" by creating aliases and having several girlfriends while married, and it is clear he had homes with different women like those airline pilots you read about who have more than one family. Some of the women knew Riley as Richard. Alma knew him as Richard. Anyway, here we go...


1. Richard R. Shepard

This was the name he was born with. My mother said Riley told her that the "R" was just an initial, and that it didn't stand for anything. Dad told me the "R" was taken from his paternal grandfather, Rev. Riley Shepard.


2. Lanky Bill, Lanky Bill Shepard

Lanky Bill was the name Riley had when he was performing black face in Vaudeville as a teen. He told me that he was 13 years old when he performed with this stage name. It seems this character, Lanky Bill, began on one of his escapes from the Eastern Carolina Industrial Training School for Boys. I prefer to call the Training School the "Children's Prison" in Rocky Mount, although no one else calls it that. Anyway, the role with the new stage name and make-up helped him hide out, at least until he was caught again.


Dad and I had talks about black face. He was fully aware that it promoted terrible stereotypes, but he said, "I performed with other kids, most were black teenagers. We simply didn't know any better back then, and we were lucky to have work. Times were tough. It was The Depression." He also used the name Lanky Bill Shepard in Columbia, S.C. on radio shows.


3. Riley Shepard

At some point, Dad dropped the name Richard and took on the name Riley. I'm guessing this was in the late 1930s. He also used this name (I thought this was his "real" name) in Philadelphia, and NYC in 1945.


I got the photo, above, on eBay. I contacted the seller, and he said it was in a box of "treasured items" in a small box that belonged to an old lady who'd died. (I wish I knew who she was...and if she had kids...) It was an estate sale, and the seller said he almost didn't put it online, he didn't think anyone would buy it, and was happily surprised that the photograph landed in the hands of the daughter of the cowboy singer.


Moving on:


4. Milton Cox

It seems he used this name in Los Angeles for writing porn, such as "The Pussy Hunt."


5. Dick Scott

He used this name in Chicago.


6. Rebel Okum

He used this name in Dodge City, Kansas


7. Dick Blake

He used this name in Portland, Oregon


8. Richard Blake Shepard

He used this name on my birth certificate. I noticed it not long ago, I just never thought to examine that document with a "suspicious eye."


9. Richard Kylm Hawley, Klym Hawley, Klim Hawley

Dad used this name in Chicago. Mom said he got the idea for the name "Klym" or "Klim" when he was looking at a milk bottle in the grocery store. She told me he liked to think of names that way, this time spelling "milk" backwards. At some point he added the "y" instead of the "i". It must have been the early 1960s, when my mother ran off with him.


10. Riley Cooper

Dad used this name in Minneapolis, MN. I have one of his library cards with this name on it from the Minneapolis library. I'm missing my stack of fake social security cards and library cards. I must have put them somewhere...


11. Zachary Quill

I've known this name for a long time, since I was age 11 or so. Dad wrote porn under this pen name, and other odd sex books that read more like a text book on the history of, for example, sex work. That book is called "Whoring Through The Ages, A History of Harlotry." It seems he had fun with that title. My friends alert me when these books appear on eBay, and several have "gifted" me Dad's old paperbacks. I think "Whoring Through the Ages" cost $40.00. Another called "Lesbianism Through the Ages" was given to me as a hostess gift by my friend Alissa when she visited me from New York. It cost her $79.00. I could go on and on about these books. Don't get me started. I'll be writing about these experiences in later blogs. The publisher, "Wiz Books" had many publications going that were much racier in nature than Dad's books, which were probably a let down for people who were looking for porn. Even the illustrations in Dad's books aren't that sexy.


Man. It's 2:48 PM and I was just looking for Dad's library cards with fake names on them, when I came across something new. I was just about to publish this, because I thought I was done. I'm not going to number these names, but apparently he had a bunch of names on other books and novels. Milton Cox, Melody Barr, Riley Kirk, Logan Stanwyck, Anassus Coleridge, Henry Paul, and Rebman Shaftesbury.


What the hell?


I took a picture of the new journal entry/list I just found, (the page was mixed in with some other papers, and lists of songs Dad wrote.) Here, my shadow is in the picture, but that's how it goes. Can you read it? I'll do a better job later. This blog entry has sucked the life out of me.



And now for the baker's dozen:


12. Dickson Hall



Dad used the name Dickson Hall in New York, and for various projects and albums. He had an album called "Outlaws of the Old West" using this name. I see there are some of these albums being sold on Amazon. Bummer. I'm not giving you a link because I think we should buy things from other sites. I know that while he was alive, my father was pissed at this German lady for (or that's who Dad said he spoke to. Daniel Rosen, Kevin Coffey, thanks for the fact check on this) selling the album. Dad told me he got ASCAP to get that lady to pay him, but I'm not sure if that's true or what happened.


Anyway, I have this album and I love it. You can buy "Outlaws of the Old West" on the On the Bear Family Records site, although they list Dad's real name as Floyd. Floyd was Riley's older brother's name, although he stole his identity to rent an apartment in New York. (See exhibit A below)


Gosh I'm getting tired.


Here's another Dickson Hall photo, he actually gave this autographed picture to his own little brother, Victor Shepard. When Victor died, I was given all of Victor's belongings, including this photograph.




13. Harley Shepard

He used this name in New York City.


14. Richard James

He used this name in New York City


15. Richard Hauck

He used this name in New York City


16. Jonny Rebel

He used this name in New York City


17. Dick Gleason

He used this name in Chicago


18. Albert Riley

He used this name in New York City


19. Ben Thomas

He used this name in New York City


Kevin Coffey, the writer who Dad said had a "made up name" and refused to speak to him, found a recording my father made under the name "Rex Cross." When I listened to the recording, I recognized my Dad's voice right away. Clearly he was "double crossing" some record label so he could make money on this name, so I'll add it as #20.


20. Rex Cross

Dad used this name so he could record an album with another label.


21. Hicky Free

Don't ask me, but it's a funny one.


22. Jean Gilmore

Who knows? Could be another girlfriend and he put her name on a song.


23. Alix Taran

Dad borrow his third wife's stage name, Taran. He used her name as a pen name for songs, as well as this music corporation. Not sure what that's about. The New York actress Alix Taran and my father had a son together. There is no evidence they ever actually divorced.


24. Richard Alexander

This was his son's name, my half-brother. He probably used it to write a song, but that's just a guess.


25. Jo Graham

This was the stage name Dad's fourth wife, although he was still married to his third. He used her name for some songs, and who knows what else. She was an actress in New York, a gorgeous brunette who looked a cross between Barbara Stanwyck and a Ballanchine ballerina. See exhibit A, this was their apartment together. He dumped her with two kids for my mother, in 1962 or so.


26. Floyd Shepard

Dad used his older brother's name to rent an apartment in New York, and then didn't pay the rent. An early "identity theft". Below, exhibit A, a letter I acquired from my half-sister, Leslie. Leslie was abandoned by Riley when she was 2 or 3 years-old. Dad lived in this apartment with Leslie's mother, Joanne. I spread some of my Dad's ashes in front of this apartment (it's nice!) and other places where Dad was evicted.


Exhibit A:



27. Floyd Riley Shepard

Dad is registered with ASCAP under this name.


Also, for a time in the 1940s (43-45) Riley gave lectures in Chicago. Dr. Richard Riley Shepard. Just a reminder, Dad dropped out of school either in the third grade or the fifth grade, depending on what story I'm to believe. So, not a doctor of any stripe.


I will continue to edit this as I find more names later. I have to go wash my hands again.

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©2020 by Stacya Silverman.

All photos on this site were taken by Thomas Schworer or David Hiller unless otherwise noted.